Monday, April 14, 2014

Picks of the Week: April 13 - 26, 2014

Website of the Week -- Glasspockets

Glasspockets is a Foundation Center initiative that champions philanthropic transparency in an online world. Launched in 2010, but with roots dating back to the Center’s founding in 1956, Glasspockets provides the data, resources, examples, and action steps foundations need to understand the value of transparency, be more open in their own communications, and help shed more light on how private organizations are serving the public good. with Glasspockets, the Foundation Center and its partners are working to:

  • Inspire private foundations to greater openness in their communications
  • Increase understanding of best practices in foundation transparency and accountability in an online world
  • Illustrate how institutional philanthropy is relevant to the critical issues of our time
  • Highlight the many stories of philanthropy that show how private wealth is serving the public good
  • Illuminate successes, failures, and ongoing experimentation so foundations can build on each other's ideas to increase impact

Publication of the Week --  The Art of Membership by Sheri Jacobs

From the publisher: Member engagement, recruitment, and retention are fundamental activities that all membership organizations must master to ensure the growth and viability of their organizations over the long term. The Art of Membership by Sheri Jacobs, CAE, provides associations and membership organizations with the practical tools they need to build a loyal and diverse membership base over the long term. Readers will be able to put the tools to work immediately regardless organization size, budget, culture, type, or environment. The recommendations are concrete, irrefutable and backed by data derived from ASAE research, the author's own more than 40 Market Research Studies conducted with her team encompassing members and nonmembers from organizations of all types and sizes and her more than 15 years of experience developing and executing membership recruitment and retention plans for more than 100 associations. The book contains ample cases and examples from associations, nonprofits and for-profits (pricing strategies, value propositions, and marketing tactics) in addition to chapter-by-chapter "how-to" guides with checklists and worksheets that break down the concepts from goal to strategy to tactics culminating in an actionable "to-do" list.

Trend of the Week --  Fundraising Effectiveness Trends

The 2013 Fundraising Effectiveness Project report developed by the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) and the Urban Institute, summarizes data from 2,840 survey respondents covering year-to-year fundraising results for 2011-2012. Key findings include:

  • Gains of $769 million in gifts from new, upgraded current, and previously lapsed donors were offset by losses of $735 million through reduced gifts and lapsed donors. This means that, while there was a positive $34 million net growth-in-giving, every $100 gained in 2012 was offset by $96 in losses through gift attrition. That is, 96 percent of gains in giving were offset by losses in giving.
  • Gains of 866,000 in new and previously lapsed donors were offset by losses of 909,000 in lapsed donors. This means that there was a negative (44,000) growth-in-donors and every 100 donors gained in 2012 was offset by 105 in lost donors through attrition. That is, 105 percent of the donors gained were offset by lapsed donors.
  • Growth-in-giving performance varies significantly according to organization size (based on total amount raised), with larger organizations performing much better than smaller ones.
  • The largest growth in gift dollars/donors came from new gifts/donors, and the pattern was most pronounced in the organizations with the highest growth-in-giving ratios.
  • The greatest losses in gift dollars came from lapsed new gifts, particularly in the organizations with the lowest and highest growth-in-giving ratios. The greatest losses in donors came from lapsed new donors in all growth-in-giving categories.

Resource of the Week –  Consent Agenda Guide

To expedite business at a board meeting, the board can approve the use of a consent agenda that includes those items considered to be routine in nature. Full information about these items should be provided to the board in advance in the board packet and any questions or concerns can be directed to the makers of the motions and answered prior to the meeting. This allows thorough examination of the routine items without using up precious board meeting time. BoardStar has prepared an excellent guide to the use of consent agendas. The three page guide is thorough and concise at the same time. To download a .pdf file, go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Selecting a Range in Excel 2007/2010

In Excel, a range is a group of connected cells. When working in Excel you often need to select a range.  Here is a simple trick for quickly selecting a range:

  • Click anywhere within the range
  • Press Ctrl + A
  • The range is selected

If the worksheet does not contain data, Ctrl + A selects the entire worksheet.  Another way to select the entire worksheet is to click the button in the upper left corner of the worksheet

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Picks of the Week: April 6-12, 2014

Website of the Week -- Volunteer Wisconsin
Volunteer Wisconsin is managed by Marshfield Clinic and partners with Volunteer Centers and Serve Wisconsin to connect volunteers, promote volunteering, and support the capacity of nonprofits. Its mission is to leverage volunteer capabilities and local assets to enhance Wisconsin communities. Local volunteer centers mobilize people and resources to deliver creative solutions to community problems. To achieve this vision, volunteer centers use the following core competencies:
  • Connect people with opportunities to serve,
  • Build the capacity for effective local volunteering,
  • Promote volunteering, and
  • Participate in strategic initiatives that mobilize volunteers to meet local community needs.

For more information, go to:

Publication of the Week --  Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World by Paul Hawken
From the publisher: Paul Hawken has spent more than a decade researching organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice. From billion-dollar nonprofits to single-person dot.causes, these groups collectively comprise the largest movement on earth, a movement that has no name, leader, or location and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media. Blessed Unrest explores the diversity of the movement, its brilliant ideas, innovative strategies, and centuries of hidden history. A culmination of Hawken's many years of leadership in the environmental and social justice fields, it will inspire all who despair of the world?s fate, and its conclusions will surprise even those within the movement itself.

Trend of the Week --  Charity and Philanthropy in Russia, China, India, and Brazil
Charity and Philanthropy in Russia, China, India, and Brazil, by Joan Spero and published in collaboration with WINGS, builds greater awareness and understanding of the diversity and challenges of civil society in the so-called BRIC countries. In the absence of comprehensive data on philanthropy in these emerging market economies, the report identifies the cultural, economic, social, and political forces shaping giving in the BRIC countries and describes the growth and nature of their philanthropic activities. To download the report, go to:

Resource of the Week –  The Smart Chart
The Interactive Smart Chart is based on the Spitfire Strategies Smart Chart 3.0 – a planning tool that helps nonprofits make smart choices and develop high-impact communications strategies. This online version of the Smart Chart offers an interactive approach to the planning process. As you work your way through the Chart, you'll have several opportunities to evaluate your answers and ensure you are making the smartest choices. You can also stop and save your answers at any time, and come back and finish later. This allows you to finish the planning process in your own time – and gives you maximum flexibility so you can get input on your choices from staff, board members or other outside resources as needed. At the end of the process, you will have a fully completed Smart Chart that links your organization's goals to the many strategic decisions necessary for a successful communications effort.  Go to:

Tech Tip of the Week -- Compress Pictures in PowerPoint 2010
If you’ve ever tried to email a PowerPoint presentation containing several pictures, you have probably discovered that the file size can be quite large. There is a way to reduce the file size. Here’s how:
  • Select a picture to display the Picture Tools Format tab
  • In the Adjust group, click the Compress Pictures button to display the Compress Pictures dialog box
  • If you want ALL pictures compressed make sure the Apply only to this picture box is NOT selected
  • In the Target Output section there are three compression options
  • Choosing the last option, Email (96 ppi), will result in the smallest file size
  • Click OK to apply the settings and close the dialog box

Remember that the more you compress the pictures the less quality there is for printing. But if you just want to share these photos online, give it a try. The procedure in PowerPoint 2007 is nearly identical.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Picks of the Week: March 30 - April 5, 2014

Website of the Week -- National Center for Family Philanthropy
Through research, educational materials and programs, the National Center for Family Philanthropy helps families and individuals better understand their roles and needs based upon their personal motivations and family values, relationships and enterprises; make their philanthropy as effective and meaningful as possible for them and their communities; and realize their desire to make a positive difference in the world around them. Go to:

Publication of the Week --  Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide: How to Keep Your Tax-Exempt Status and Avoid IRS Problems by Stephen Fishman
From the publisher: Your nonprofit enjoys special privileges not available to other organizations -- but they come at a price. Nonprofits must comply with rules and regulations that don't apply to for-profit ventures. Every Nonprofit's Tax Guide explains these rules and what your nonprofit must do to maintain tax-exempt status and avoid problems with the IRS. This practical, thorough, and easy-to-read book explains both ongoing and annual compliance requirements for nonprofits, including:
  • rules for charitable giving and cash donations
  • Form 990
  • unrelated taxable business income
  • annual IRS filings and disclosures
  • property donations
  • bookkeeping basics
  • working with independent contractors and volunteers
  • restrictions on lobbying and political activities
The book also includes a chapter on the types of transactions that can get your nonprofit in hot water with the IRS.

Trend of the Week --  2014 Trends to Watch
The National Council of Nonprofits has prepared a trends summary with implications for nonprofit staff, board members, donors and community leaders. Here is a sampling:
  • The Resource Squeeze: One prominent trend that began with the Great Recession will continue its drain in 2014: scarce financial resources. The vast majority of charitable nonprofits will continue to be squeezed for financial resources in 2014. In the current environment of increased competition for scarcer financial resources, no nonprofit’s board of directors should be caught ignoring its fiduciary duty to help the nonprofit fundraise.
  • The Upward Spiral Of Need: The dramatic decline in government funding often increases demand for services, as communities and individuals continue to struggle and look to nonprofits to provide basic services. In 2013, more than half of nonprofits surveyed by the Nonprofit Finance Fund reported they didn't expect to have enough resources to meet increased community needs. The upward spiral of need for basic services is likely only to increase in 2014, while the resources that nonprofits have available to them will continue to be squeezed. 
To download the full summary, go to:

Resource of the Week –  Interactive Collaboration Tool Finder
An interactive tool finder developed by GrantCraft, a joint service of the Foundation Center and the European Foundation Centre, presents seven distinct collaborative needs (including finding partners, designing strategies, assessing progress) and 17 types of tool functionalities (ranging from data gathering to project management to scheduling meetings) in an online matrix that facilitates intuitive exploration of available resources. This free resource helps users generate custom results that provide details on recommended solutions, including their cost; whether they are best for small-, medium-, or large-sized collaborations; how easy they are to use; and if there is a mobile-friendly version. Go to: